In Venice: Melissa McGill’s First Solo Exhibition With Mazzoleni London

Melissa McGill, Red Regatta (Coppa del Presidente della Repubblica, San Giorgio Maggiore), 2019

In Venice is Melissa McGill‘s first solo exhibition with Mazzoleni London. Following her highly acclaimed Red Regatta, a Venice-based public art project of 2019, the exhibition presents related artworks in a wide range of media. It will feature hand-painted photographic artist renderings, sculptural sound works, works with sailcloth and paper, photographs, an installation in glass and a new series of watercolor studies of the Venetian Lagoon.

Red Regatta and its related artworks speak simultaneously of, on one hand, the individual, intimate, local and handmade, while also, on the other hand, emphasizing the collective, large-scale public and global community. Bringing individuals together on both intimate and collective scales, uniting for a common goal – is at the core of my work.” Melissa McGill

Melissa McGill has developed a profound personal relationship with the city of Venice. Having lived there in the early 1990s, she has continued to engage with the city. Red Regatta was an unprecedented series of four large-scale site-specific performances in Venice’s waterways between May and September 2019, presented in parallel with the 58th Venice Biennale: 52 traditional vela al terzo boats sailed in choreographed regattas, each with sails hand-painted in distinct shades of red. An innovative reflection on environmental issues and historical traditions, the reds reference forces of life and passion, alarm and urgency, and Venice itself – from its bricks and terracotta rooftops, to its flag and history of trade in red pigment, to paintings of Titian, Tintoretto and other Venetian masters. Red Regatta is the first artwork to be registered as a “Clean Regatta,” a program of Sailors for the Sea powered by Oceana, that mobilises sailors to protect the ocean through education and activism.

In Venice presents a significant body of work created during different phases of Red Regatta’s timeline, as McGill considers the delicate and liminal relationship between Venice’s built and natural environments, between land and sea and between humanity and nature. The first body of work includes the artist’s large-scale hand-painted photographic renderings, anticipating the realization of the future performances. The second group of works are vibrant red color studies on sailcloth and paper, made as she created the 52 shades for Red Regatta, as well as works produced during the sail painting workshop, where the artist hand-painted 104 red sails with art students and collaborating sailors in the historic maritime Arsenale in Venice. The third series, Riflessi, are photographs taken by the artist during the actual Red Regatta performances in which the red sails were reflected in the Venetian lagoon waters. Here they are presented in two evocative installations, one printed on paper, another on glass, in varying sizes. Titled Acqua Alta, the latter reflects on the project from the perspective of the catastrophic flooding in Venice that immediately followed caused by rising sea levels.

Alongside these, a new series of watercolor studies of the Venetian Lagoon will be exhibited, as well as Campo Box (Santa Maria Nova) and Campo Box (San Polo), black lacquered sculptural sound boxes that evoke the architectural footprints and aural experience of these Venetian campi. The irregularly shaped public squares serve as the historic heart of every Venetian neighborhood and are in danger of disappearing. By isolating the aural experience of this place, the artwork captures the subtle nuances of daily Venetian life – the snippets of conversation between neighbors, calls from passing boats and gondoliers, children playing and footsteps in a pedestrian city where sound bounces off from stone to stone free of the din of traffic.


Andrea Hammer
About Andrea Hammer 282 Articles
Andrea Karen Hammer is the founder, director and owner of Artsphoria Publishing, Media Group & Shop ( Artsphoria International Magazine (; Artsphoria Movie Reviews & Film Forum (; Artsphoria: Arts, Business & Technology Center (; Artsphoria Event Advertising & Reporting (; Artsphoria: Food for the Soul (; Artsphoria Animation & Imagination World ( and Artsphoria Shop ( She is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer who has published articles in international publications.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.